Sunday, February 24, 2008

Groceries

Is it just here in California, or is it nationwide, that the grocery prices are going up dramatically? It seems like every time I've gone to the store over the past couple of months, something on my regular grocery list, has gone up in price. I'm not talking about a few cents here and there, I'm talking about jumps like 30%. My whole wheat pitas (a weekly staple!) used to be 99 cents; now they're $1.29. Soy milk used to be $1.29, but is now $1.49. Eggs used to be 99 cents; now they're $1.49. Jam used to be $2.99; now it's $3.49. And that's just to name a few. I don't intend to pay THAT close of attention to prices, but my mind just seems to remember them (I've always had a "numbers" brain...I'm not sure if that's a blessing or a curse). My question is, how does one absorb these costs, when paychecks are not getting any larger? We only have so much money. When prices rise like this, that means we have to take money from a different category in our budget to pay for it (since there isn't any "leftover" money from our paychecks). I'm thankful that budgeting is a gift of ours, but am wondering if anyone has any suggestions about what we could do differently. Are you all experiencing the same things?

Friday, February 22, 2008

Recipe!

I'm back with another yummy, easy recipe! I actually made this on Valentine's Day for a quick "nice" dinner that Noel and I could scarf down before he headed to class for the night (made for a great celebration...all by myself on the couch all night). Don't worry, we celebrated this past Wednesday instead. :)

This recipe comes from Everday Food , which is a magazine filled with SIMPLE, delicious dinner ideas. I'm trying to make cooking more simple, so that I don't get tired of being in the kitchen. Don't let the title fool you into thinking this dish is too spicy (for those of you who don't like spice). It really wasn't spicy at all.

Cayenne-rubbed Chicken with Avocado Salsa
course salt and ground pepper
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves (6-8 oz each)
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 med red onion, finely diced (I might not use the whole onion next time)
2 Tbsp lime juice
1 avocado, pitted and cut into chunks

In a small bowl, combine 1 tsp salt (I used slightly less), 1/4 tsp pepper, and cayenne; rub all over chicken.
In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add chicken, cook until browned on the outside and opaque througout, 8-10 minutes per side.
Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine onion and lime juice and set aside. Just before serving, fold in avocado chunks and season with salt and pepper. Serve salsa on top of chicken.

I served this with roasted baby gold potatoes (cut in half, sprinkled with salt, pepper, minced garlic and drizzled with olive oil) and a salad made of spinach, grapefruit, blue cheese, and walnuts with a dressing made up of olive oil, lemon juice, lime juice, and honey.

Hope you enjoy it!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Rumohrs In Town

One of the great things (for us) about Lindsay's job is that she gets flown out to our neck of the woods from time to time on business. This time Luke and Lindsay both flew in for a black tie event in Riverside. We met them for an afternoon snack at the In-N-Out Burger that is directly adjacent to the runway at LAX. I mean directly adjacent. We sat outside to enjoy the sun, but we had to stop our conversation every 3 minutes when a plane flew in.
At one point, a huge plane flew in and the massive vibrations broke my cheap sunglasses from H&M. Lindsay got a kick out of that incident.

It's all good, though. I bought some new sunglasses from Macy's and now I look like Bono.
Alas, after a short visit, the Rumohrs had to get going because Luke said he still needed to get a black tie for the big gala, which started in a few hours. I told Luke "black tie" means tuxedo. He told me he was just going to look for a black tie from the store. How'd that go, Luke?

Hike in the Foothills

My mom (this is Noel writing) came to visit for a week recently. She needed a break from work and from the snow, and boy did she ever time it right! The week she came, the weather out here turned from 50's and rainy to 70's and sunny. It even reached 80 one day! Meanwhile, back in Michigan, Dad had two snow days! I think it was a blizzard there every day while she was here. During the week, Heidi and I were busy with work and school, so we all spent time together in the evenings and on the weekend. We took her to a few of our favorite local spots like 21 Choices and Father Nature's Lavash Wraps. On Saturday, we took her to a new hike that we found, just about a 15-minute drive away into the San Gabriel foothills. The path was a bit treacherous at some points where we had to cross over the stream, since the water was so high from all the recent rains. But we made it to the end, where there is a beautiful waterfall.
Makes for a great little weekend excursion. I'm sure we'll be back.

Now Mom is back in the snow. Oh well, it got colder out here as soon as she left!

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Recipe of the week

I tried a few new recipes again this week. Surprisingly, the simplest one was definitely the tastiest! Maybe that's because it was for salmon (which may be my all time favorite food) and the other 2 were for pasta (which is definitely more of a "neutral" food for me). I loved this recipe because it only called for ingredients that we already had in the house. It's so fun to just whip something together that doesn't require buying tons of stuff at the store. This recipe comes from Cooking Light.

Bourbon-Glazed Salmon
3 Tbsp brown sugar
3 Tbsp bourbon
2 Tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
1 Tbsp grated peeled fresh ginger
1 Tbsp lime juice
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 tsp black pepper
4 (6 oz) skinless salmon fillets

Combine first 7 ingredients in a ziplock bag. Add fish to bag. Marinate in refrigerator for 1 1/2 hours, turning occasionally.
Heat a large nonstick skillet over med-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add fish and marinade to pan;cook fish about 4 minutes on each side or until done. Place fillet on plate and drizzle with remaining sauce.
Optional: Spinkle fish with thinly sliced green onions and toasted sesame seeds.

I served this with a side of roasted broccoli and whole-wheat couscous that I added toasted, slivered almonds and dried cranberries to.

Hope you enjoy it!

Tip: You can store fresh ginger in freezer for several months. This makes it easier to grate and eliminates the problem of having it rot in the fridge before you can use it all up. I cut the ginger into 1-2 inch pieces and then put it in a freezer bag. Then I can just take out 1 piece at a time (or however many pieces I need).